The 79th Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) promises to be anything but a one-horse race.
Last year the outstanding Orfevre took the title en route to completing the Triple Crown but this season the Japanese Racing Association's brightest three-year-olds are set to make up a maximum field of 18.
Twenty-four colts have been nominated for the mile and a half race on May 27 at Tokyo Racecourse where Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) champion Gold Ship will challenge for the valuable first prize.
His trainer, Naosuke Sugai, believes that there could be even more to come at Tokyo this weekend: "I think he'll be even better racing at Tokyo.
"To run in the Classics is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I do feel the burden and responsibility, and I hope to have him in even better shape than he was for the Satsuki Sho."
The dangers are headed by one of several Deep Impact colts in the field, Deep Brilliante who was third in the Satsuki Sho behind Gold Ship and World Ace who also reopposes.
Connections of World Ace are hoping that the weather holds for the weekend: "I've been watching the Satsuki Sho for a long time, but I can't recall the last time I saw the track in that bad of shape," Triple Crown winning trainer Yasutoshi Ikee said.
"He's been moving well and he just looks really sharp at the moment. He should shape up fine once the jockey works him from the week before. The distance is probably just right for him. All we're asking for is a normal race on normal going. If we get that, we shouldn't have any problems whatsoever."
Fenomeno has history in his way as no winner of the Aoba Sho, held over the same course and distance, has ever gone on to land the Classic.
One would think winning the Aoba Sho would present some advantage for the Tokyo Yushun but ironically, no horse who has won the race has ever gone on to win the Japanese Derby.
His connections are, however, hopeful of breaking new ground: " "He ran a heck of a race last time but for all his dominance, I still felt he had plenty of room to grow," his jockey Masayoshi Ebina said.
"But will he fill out in time for the Derby? Or is his best race further down the road? Only time will tell, but from what I've been told, horses who win the Derby really start improving at around this time of the year. I'm hoping that's the case with our horse."